Jan 202014

(In this post TheMadIsraeli reviews the debut album by First Reign from BC, Canada, and we bring you the premiere of a full-album stream.)

What a beast of an album.

Non-European melodic death metal that’s REALLY good is really hard to come by. It always has been. For every one band from somewhere else, you could name three European bands of at least equal weight. First Reign are a Canadian band who I believe are at the head of the class of what they do. I’ve covered them before, reviewing their debut EP, but with the band’s debut album, Harvest of Shame, they’ve undergone a transformation. They are more technical, more progressive, and with a much darker tonality.

Imagine the ferocity of At the Gates, the guitar acrobatics and power-metal clean interjections of Into Eternity (pre-Stu Block), and a Death-like sense of composition, combined with some traditional death metal carnage, and you have First Reign. Harvest of Shame is a bleak, twisting labyrinth of melodic death metal might. The band’s seamless integration of their various influences and their commitment to producing melodic death metal that is truly their own is astounding. I’d be hard-pressed to name any one band who truly sounds like this one, even though I can rattle off the names of others who have laid the groundwork for their sound.

The album’s opening is a torrent of rage and agony. “The Reaping/Death with Regret” opens up with melancholy piano. The deathly waltz of dual-guitar dance that follows becomes an elegant massacre, a wolf of demonic origin tearing the entrails out of its hapless victims. And “elegant massacre” is a description that really applies to all of Harvest of Shame — it never lets up once. From the technical ballet of “Severed Inception” to the straight-up death metal blitzkrieg of “A Will Into A Way”, First Reign know their metal and how to craft it exceedingly well.

We have the honor of premiering for you a full stream of this album, and I think you guys will enjoy it immensely (including the mix, which sounds like it’s straight out of 1997). First Reign should be on your radar screen. They’re definitely on mine.

Harvest of Shame will be released on January 21, 2014, and is available for pre-order now, via the Bandcamp link below.

Track list:

01 – The Reaping
02 – Death With Regret
03 – Severed Inception
04 – Lore
05 – In Time
06 – Serpent Of Old
07 – Forged By Fire
08 – Firstborn Of The Dead
09 – Famine
10 – A Will Into A Way
11 – Harvest Of Shame



  1. this sounds pretty cool and i love the artwork

  2. Cool listen. I’ll have to look for this one when it comes out.

  3. good music, but the sound quality is not there. Might be the soundcloud upload, but the cymbals make this sound like its128kbps or less.

    • I’d have to agree with the sound clarity. I am thinking it is a soundcloud issue.

    • The original sound files we received were high-quality .wav masters. It takes forever to upload those (and as you’ll see in a moment, it wouldn’t have affected the streaming sound quality anyway) so I had to first convert them to mp3s, albeit 320 kbps mp3. Per Soundcloud, “we transcode all tracks to 128 kbps mp3 for streaming playback”

      • Allow me to add a purely technical comment: I’d recommend the FLAC file format for use cases like that. It allows compressing audio data in a lossless way and much more efficient than zipping it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FLAC
        The chain from .wav via .mp3(320kbps) to .mp3(128kbps) means unnecessary quality loss in the intermediate step.

        By the way, I usually download bandcamp albums as FLAC for the same reasons; it’s like having the physical CD with respect to quality.

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